Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news looks at the Super Rugby AU decider between the Brumbies and the Reds, as Souths player Harry McLellan recovers from neck surgery, Rennie ponders his skipper selection, and Toomua is appointed President of RUPA.


Ultimate showdown

Harry Wilson runs at Rob Valentini.

On Saturday night, rugby fans across Australia will be tuning into the first ever Super Rugby AU Grand Final. The match between the ACT Brumbies and the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium is set to be a scintillating contest, one that will put Australian rugby under the spotlight.

The Reds blew the Brumbies away in Brisbane the last time they met, just a fortnight ago, but haven’t managed a win in Canberra for six years.

The Brumbies were able to keep that record in tact when they played the Reds on home turf in round 5, thanks to a monster penalty kick from Mack Hansen after the full-time siren which earned them a  22-20 win.

While the Brumbies have been the form team of the Australian franchises throughout the year, the loss to the Reds before heading into the bye would have put a serious dent in their momentum as they prepare for this weekend’s game.

The Brumbies will be looking to pull out all the stops, utilising every weapon at their disposal. The rolling maul remains the team’s biggest asset, but they have also managed to spread the ball effectively to get it to their potent backline, and have attacked from inside their own half on a number of occasions.

The Queensland team will be brimming with confidence after dispatching two of their closet rivals in as many weeks.

The game will present a number of intriguing match-ups, with a number of Wallabies squad members fighting for a place in the Starting XV. One of the more mouth-watering battles will be between halfbacks Nic White and Tate McDermott.

The Grand Final is as much a sellout as it can be, with all 6000 tickets available snapped up this week. Who is winning this one?

Silver lining

Harry McLellan playing for Southern Districts in the Shute Shield.

Harry McLennan sustained a severe neck injury on Saturday 29 August while playing for Southern Districts in the Shute Shield. The injury required surgery, and Mclennan has now been in hospital for weeks.

It has been confirmed that Harry’s playing days are over, but the 22-year old told the St George Shire Standard that the accident could have put him in a wheelchair.

“I was lucky, it could have been a lot worse. I could have been a quadriplegic,” said McLennan.

“I got crunched in a tackle and my C1 and C2 vertebra came dangerously loose and I had to get surgery to fuse it together. There were a rough couple of days after the surgery but I’m starting to get up and walk around a bit now.

“Because they are fused together when it eventually heals I will be able to do normal things. But not contact sport, not rugby.

“They think I had injured it before. They said it was ridiculously loose. I am so lucky. I was maybe one hit away from something far more serious.

“In the scheme of things loosing rugby isn’t the biggest thing. But I loved it.”

A Go Fund Me page has been set up, with donations going towards his medical bills and time off work. If you can, donate to the Go Fund Me page here. 

The top job

Michael Hooper against the Springboks (Photo Credit: Delphy)

Speculation around the Wallabies captaincy has started following the announcement of Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad. When the new Wallabies coach announced his squad of 44 on Sunday, many punters noticed that the skipper was not nominated, and it raised a few eyebrows considering this would be the usual time to reveal who gets the captain’s armband.

Some scribes suggested it meant a changing of the guard, while others considered it a forgone conclusion that Hooper would remain the incumbent. It could be a case of extra-ordinary circumstances, considering the squad contains 44 players (with another two seemingly set to be drafted in), a necessity given the difficulty of quarantining the team in preparation for the Bledisloe series and the Rugby Championship.

Rennie is playing his cards close to his chest, and may want to see Hooper in action before making a decision.

“We want to wait until the team assembles and we want to tell the team as opposed to doing it through the media,” Rennie explained. “We’ll gather most of the squad in on Sunday. We should get the rest in on Monday and we’ll be able to announce it there. So we’ll let everyone know next week.”

Former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen has backed Michael Hooper to retain the national captaincy for this year’s tests.

“If it was me, I’d be backing Michael Hooper the whole way,” said Mowen.

 “He’s been outstanding for a long time in terms his performance. His leadership just grows year on year, and he’s managed things through pretty tough periods.”

Lead from the front

Matt Toomua kicks ahead against the Reds.

Melbourne Rebels playmaker Matt Toomua is the new president of the Rugby Union Players’ Association, replacing former Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick, who will now serve as a director.

Toomua has been a vocal leader for player’s rights, and was instrumental in representing the current crop of Super Rugby players during negotiations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The job is just beginning for Toomua now that is he has become president.

There is already pay talks underway between Rugby Australia and RUPA, with the current pay agreement only been signed until the end of this month. Players have been on a 30 percent pay cut until September 30.

Toomua and the team at RUPA will then negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with Rugby Australia, with the current one expiring at the end of this year.

“As someone who has heavily benefited from the work done in the past by former players and RUPA delegates, I am very honoured to have this opportunity to assist our players and the game,” Toomua said.

“We are fortunate to have some great experience in current and past players, along with industry experts guiding our journey. We will need all this experience as we navigate our way through these challenging times.”

“Matt has vast experience as a professional player across a variety of environments,” commented RUPA chief executive Justin Harrison. “His pragmatism and considered views on the importance of player consultation and collaboration are founded on first-hand experiences that are invaluable when navigating a professional playing group through what will be a defining moment in the Australian rugby ecosystem.”

  • Custardtaht

    It’s a no brainer Hooper is going to remain the Captain. 1. He is an excellent communicator, be it with the refs, coaches, team mates or media.
    2. He is an excellent leader with a wealth of experience, including leading a state team, national team and a coup.
    3. As both ABBA and Qld CHO Jeanette Young say, Money Money, Money.
    4. Most importantly, he is endorsed by Ashley-Coopers mum.

    • Gun

      Show him the Wallabies GOLD (I personally would rather see change in the command of the team).

    • Jason

      He’s an awful communicator — especially with the referees. Have you not been watching the same Hooper I have?
      This is the guy who runs away from the referees when his team is in trouble.
      I’d agree he’s not bad with the media, none of us would know about the team mates.

      • Custardtaht

        I see a Captain who is such an effective communicator, that Refs will tell him they don’t want to speak to him and to go away. They simply can’t out debate him.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s gold

  • Alister Smith

    To young Harry McLennan – I hope all goes well. I would just like to say that one of the best coaches I had was a bloke who was playing Premier Grade rugby in Brisbane at age 21 and had a similar neck injury. He had the verterbraes fused but never played rugby again. Be he became a fantastic coach and manager of teams at the club (though his work prevented him from taking up full time coaching). So, if you can bare hanging around rugby but not being able to play yourself, consider taking up coaching to keep you around the game (or refereeing if you have very thick skin).

    • Yowie

      So, if you can bare hanging around rugby but not being able to play yourself, consider taking up coaching…

      But not all Waratahs can become coaches.

      • Mica

        Zing – The target was held up and ……… :)

        • Alister Smith

          I go for the Reds now anwyay..

      • Hoss

        Oh yeah smarty pants, where does it say in the constitution we cant………….

        • Custardtaht

          Pffffff, Constitution. It isn’t the overarching legal document of this land, more a book of “guidelines”. In that way it is just like the bible, sure it is full of “commandments” but are only mandatory if you agree with them.

        • Yowie

          If only someone would put out a handy list of f*ckers due to go straight to hell.

        • Custardtaht

          Gosh, wouldn’t that be good.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Only a list of f*ckers?

        • Yowie

          Well, drunks, liars, thieves, atheists and idolaters too. Agnostics seem to be in the clear.

        • Alister Smith

          They’re not …they just don’t know they’re not.

      • Custardtaht

        Tru dat, but those who don’t coach become administrators and commentators.

        I guess the old adage of “Those who can’t do, teach” was about the Tahs.

        • Yowie

          And those who can’t do any of that can try to make jokes on the internet.

  • Mica

    Anyone want to throw out an alternative to Hooper?
    I think Liam Wright has been fantastic, but I don’t think he’s ready yet. Then again I said that when Thorn made him captain and didn’t I just need to eat some humble pie after that one!!
    Current SR Captains
    Reds – Wright (unlikely)
    Tahs – Simmons (no)
    Brumbies – AAA (won’t start – could be wrong)
    Rebs – DHP (no)
    Force – Prior (not in the squad)

    Looks like Hooper is safe for now.

    • Reds Revival

      Two Cows or JOC2.0 would both be excellent candidates, especially if the new coaching team want to show a clean break from their predecessors. It could be the broom that demonstrates they are keen to start afresh.

      • Hoss

        I am on the Hooper wagon, BUT i wouldn’t mind it being JOC2.0 if it has to change. Calm, composed, experienced and rugby-smart.

        • UTG

          What credentials does JOC actually have other than holding his drink better?

          Toomua is head of RUPA, captain of his provincial side, long-term ambassador for players…Seems an easy choice for me.

        • wilful

          Because his selection in the run on XV is far from assured.

        • UTG

          Do you mean JOC’s main credential is he’s a near certain starter? Agree with that.

        • Hoss

          I think we can agree we have options. I am not yet convinced Matt T at is a ‘starter’ – he’s in the 23, but it wouldn’t surprise if his from the pine as cover.

        • UTG

          Yep, agree we have options. Interested in who your 12 is if not Toomua. Simone has been outstanding but I’m not sure he’s going to start a Bledislode over Toomua.

        • Hoss

          Good question. I think the makeup of of 10/12 is pivotal to whether we go a 6/2 or 5/3. If both JOC & MT start we go a 6/2 for mine with White / McDermott and likely Hodge due to the versatility he offers across most of the backfield positions.

          And the above i think pivots around Moses’ propensity for high octane, high skilled ball that will almost mandate 6 reserve forwards.

          If its a 5/3 bench IMO Matt T comes from the pine due to his experience and the bench would look a lot like White/McDermott, MT & Harrison / Hodge

          Long story short at present i see JOC certain to start and MT at the mercies of the squad mix

        • Brumby Runner

          But Hoss, you still haven’t nominated who the 12 will be if MT is on the bench. I’m with UTG on this – Simone has been outstanding but maybe won’t be. or shouldn’t be, sent out against the ABs first up. That can have a detrimental effect on the player’s career – just ask MT.

        • UTG

          Good breakdown of the bench options but who will be 12?

        • Hoss

          6/2 bench Matt T. 5/3 bench Simone

        • UTG

          Can live with Simone.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          JOC is a leader but not a captain. I will not want him to set the culture of the team.

        • Mike D

          JOC is not the Captain, I think, more like the wise old head – an advisor role – the life experience is there, but not the natural leadership magnetism. I think would be great to have someone like Hooper who then had the confidence to turn to his JOC advisor types and say, “I’m going with this” and they can say, “hang on – try this instead”. That might bolster Hooper so his captaincy improves a step, I don’t think he’s ever really had that calm head backing him up before and just acting as an emotional out-rigger when things go to custard. He’s kind of been expected to go it all himself – possibly a reflection of the coach’s own management style which is then pushed onto the players.

        • Damo

          Much as I think a new captain’s face might be the right thing to do, my sympathetic soul says that on the basis that we have a halfway logical game plan, rather than Cheika’s chocolate wheel, and we select a team that really buys in to that plan, then maybe we give M.Hooper another go.

    • Jason

      I’d agree regarding Wright. But we have some really good options if you wanted to have a temporary captain while you groom Wright.

      Slipper was an institution at the Reds — every one of those Reds players would already have massive respect for him. He’s (C) for 60 odd then you hand over to your choose one (presumably Wright).

      Simmons would be a good choice in a similar vain. While I have doubts to him being best in position he’s been playing well enough that you could carry him for the season then he’s going away — again while you groom your upcoming captain.
      Toomua is another obvious choice for a lot of reasons that I’ll cover later, but he might be a little far away from the scrum/ruck/lineout.

      Then the most so crazy it just might work… James O’Connor — he’s best in position in like 3 positions (10, 12, 13), he’s going to be an 80 min player while enabling you to run your young fly-halves etc. He’s untainted by the Cheika era, he’s showing amazing leadership with the Reds, he’s handling a lot of the media load with the Reds doing a good job of it. He’s a really smart player who would make good tactical decisions.

      I think Rennie NEEDS to make a clean break away from Hooper — away from the worst era of Australian Rugby. Accepting Hooper is accepting that what happened in the past was okay. And it’s not we are ranked 7th in the world.

      • laurence king

        I think that O’Connor would be a great captain and when he is ready to go, one of the younger ones should be ready to step up. I don’t think that Hooper would be the best option, good player and man that he is. Fresh start for a new team and though Hooper will likely be in the team maybe just let him do his job.

        • Jason

          I think the biggest problem with Hooper is if you make him the captain now, you can kind of never go back. That means you can’t start McReight in 6-12 months time when he will possibly be inarguably a better player than Hooper, that means you accept Hooper’s lack of communication with the officials. You accept him and all the baggage that comes with him. Even if we assume Hooper is the best player at his position in the world and will be until the next World Cup, Rennie would be putting an unknown on the throne — that’s a big risk.
          I’d rather we take someone like a Slipper or Simmons for example and if Hooper is the right guy he will still be the right guy next year.

    • RedSheep1989

      I think an underrated option for captain is one who isn’t for his SR team. Fraser McReight was captain of the u20s last year when they were runners up. given his breakout performance during this year’s SR AU, it’s at least worth consideration imo. I would definitely concede he’s untested, and also that my view of him as a breakout star worthy of immediate wallaby gold is probably an over-optimistic view they we rugby fans tend to have of the latest and greatest new talent. (interestingly Hooper was [and I quote wikipedia here, in an unattributed sentence] “Where he captained the side at times and was named International Player of the Tournament.”)

      that said, we should consider that Hooper will have turned 32 during the 2023 RWC. his trademark energiser-bunny nothing left on the field atttitude and play style might not still be there by then, if not earlier. might it be best to have someone well-positioned to lead the side through a period beyond that that will include 2 RWCs (’23 & ’27) and just as importantly, the 2025 Lions tour?

      • IIPA

        Matt Philip would also work for me as captain, or Slipper. I’m not really on the Toomua wagon for the c next to his name. It’s the vibe.

        But yeah I think will be Hooper or JOC and I’m ok with either. I agree though comd next RWC, a Wilson, McReight, Harrison youngun would be just fine.

  • laurence king

    Good read mate. Three cheers for Harry McLennan. I know he’s a bit young but he might just become a GAGR. Maybe Rennie wants to make sure that the captain is best in his position first, something that wasn’t the case under Cheika. I have no problem with Hooper, however we now have a few guys who all would do a good job imo

    • Jason

      Is Hooper going to be the best in his position for the year? Like is that a commitment Rennie is willing to make?
      McReight and Wright are both hot on his heals.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, I think Saturday is going to be a cracker of a match. I hope the Brumbies demonstrate that they are more than a rolling maul 1 trick pony again this week as I think the Reds have nailed the defence of that for the most part. They proved in other games that they can play other styles and I hope this happens. My biggest fear is that they try not to lose more than they try to win as I think that will actually open up the game for the Reds even more. The commitment and pure heart the Reds have shown in their defence recently makes me think that they have enough to take this game as long as they keep focused.

    That’s sad to hear about McLennan and I’m glad he isn’t hurt more than what he is. Maybe he should take up refereeing I know I find that very satisfying after 40 odd years of playing and recognising that the body can’t handle the knocks these days.

    I’m against Hooper being the captain. First of all I always thought he was a very poor captain anyway with no ability to talk to the referees, constantly making poor decisions on the field and an inability to change any game plans or get his team motivated. While he has a lot of experience I’m not sure the experience of being part of the leadership team that took the Wallabies from 2nd in the world to 7th is experience that is worth much. Secondly I don’t think he’s the best 7 in the team anyway and I’d hate to see better players miss out on playing because he had to be there because of his captaincy. I saw that with the All Blacks when they had both Rueban Thorne and Todd Blackadder. So called great captains who pulled the team down with their level of play as there were better players in their positions who missed out.

    Good to see Matt Toomua take on that role. Good luck with the negotiations this year and with no sponsorship deal on the table yet there could be interesting times ahead

    • UTG

      Similar arguments about Cane and the Chiefs can be made regarding the performance of the side under his captaincy. I don’t think they’re good arguments.

    • Twoilms

      Who’s better than Hooper? Wright who has played 2 tests from the bench or McReight who has played 0 tests? Plenty of potential sure, but 99 caps all of which have been at a consistently high level? they have a bit to prove yet.

      To blame pretty much the only player over the past 5 years to put in consistent, high-level professional performances for the teams overall
      ranking is mind-boggling.

      Maybe ask all the other scrubs that have come and gone why the Wallabies have been under performing.

      As to the captaincy, happy to see someone else take it. I don’t think Hooper is a particularly great captain. Your point about an underserving player starting because he is the captain applies to everyone else as well, though. Who is going to be in the team enough to justify it? My preference would be one of AAA, Slipper, Wright or Toomua – none of which are guaranteed a starting place.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        From what I’ve seen of Liam Wright and how he has handled himself this year I think he could step into the Captaincy and immediately take it to the level it should be. He’s articulate, plays well invigorates his team, plays bloody well himself and to me is the best Captain in SAU. My other option would be AAA as I thought he does a great job with the Brumbies.
        Sorry but one of the responsibilities of the Captain is to take responsibility for the performance of the team. He’s like the coach in that regard and it just goes with the job.

        • Twoilms

          Oh right so it’s entirely Reid’s fault NZ lost to England last year? what fucken nonsense.

          As for Liam Wright – i rate him highly. If he’s in the team i’d be happy to make him captain. He isn’t better than Hooper at 7, though, and hasn’t been playing there regardless. And there are big questions as to whether he can make it as a 6 at test level. So he may not even be in the team.

          Every time i read a Hooper bashing post it’s just some bloke from Qld saying ‘the Reds guy should be 7′ or some bloke from Canberra sayin ‘It shoulda been Poey all those years’. And yet three consecutive coaches all picked Hooper consistently since his debut.

        • Twoilms

          So we play Wright at 7 even though he’s been playing at 6 and isn’t the best player in the position just because he is captain? isn’t that the exact thing your criticize Cheika for doing.

          Wright is a great player, but better 7 than Hooper? highly doubt. Hooper certainly came out on top when they went head to head.

        • UTG

          This is what I don’t get. The same group of people who say we were forced against the best interests of the team to start Hooper solely because he was made captain now want to pick Wright as captain with 0 test experience. It’s insane.

          Wright definitely has the leadership skills to be long-term captain but let’s allow him to cement a place in the side first. We lose nothing by choosing an interim captain in Hooper or Toomua.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          No I said he should be captain, not 7, not sure where you got that from but it wan’t anything I wrote. TBH I’d have both the Reds flankers as I think they both have outplayed every other team during the season. I admit I don’t rate Hooper that much and the fact that he was picked by Link and Cheika doesn’t change that. I agree that I doubt if there is anyone else on the field that gives more than Hooper and I agree he runs around and tries to be everywhere but I just don’t think he’s that effective. He very rarely dominates in either attack or defence and while he does get the odd turnover he is also usually pushed off the ball by other players. He’s definitely a good Super level 7 I just don’t think he’s a good test level 7. Not really anything that matters as no one who makes the decisions is ever going to listen to my opinion, or anyone else’s on this forum but it’s just what I think.

        • Twoilms

          Sigh. Nearly the youngest centurian in test rugby from any country, ever and he’s ‘a good Super 7′. There is no talking to Reds fans. Completely irrational. Surprised you haven’t brought up Liam Gill yet.

        • UTG

          I give up after the “he runs around a lot but isn’t that effective” line. It’s clear then they can’t point to any quantifiable deficiencies in his game and resort to meaningless, unverifiable generalisations.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Sorry I’m not a Reds fan, again not sure where you got that from. You’re struggling with this a bit aren’t you? The team I have always followed over here has been the Brumbies.

  • Hoss

    Thank Christ Goog threw in ‘ecosystem’ to prove it was his quote.

    I am off to check our corporate ecosystem now to make sure the staff pragmatism and considered views on the importance of consultation and collaboration are founded on first-hand experiences that are invaluable when navigating a professional organisation through what will be a defining moment –

    ‘hey you, overpaid dickhead, are you doing all that stuff above or is it Centrelink for you – bludga!’

    I knows how to build a good kulcha ecosystem.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahaha Kulcha? Isn’t that found in the refridgerator in an old yoghurt pack

    • Yowie

      Ecosystem? Bloody Greens. First they cause all those bushfires. Now it turns out they have a hand in everything RUPA does.

    • Keith Butler

      Enlightened management practice.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    I am not so sure that a captain makes such a big difference. You are looking for an upstanding individual that is consistently giving his best week in and week out and that avoid scandals. Someone that can set the example and set the culture within the team. You also need as many passionate players that is battle hardened and make the right decisions at the right time and have the ability to lift the performance of the team. Often these leaders are not the captain but more critical to the success of the team. Captains like a McCaw and a Kolisi will not be such good captains without a Carter, Reid, Pollard or Vermeulen. Some leaders are better off not to become captain e.g. Shane Warne, Aaron Smith, Rassie Erasmus, Joost vd Westhuizen but critical to the success of the team. Any issues these players create get blown up if they are captain and can distract from the team’s performance.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      I will add Hooper to this list. He is a leader, definitely, but I do not think the captaincy hat is helping his game and someone else may be better suited to that role. Liam Wright seems to be the right kind of individual that can set an example and the right culture within the team.

      • Yowie

        I’m currently reading “The Captain Class” by Sam Walker. The author isolated the most consistently dominant (eg) 20 teams of all time across a range of sports and eras and found the main correlating factor was an extraordinarily gritty individual (usually made Captain early on) who is not necessarily the best player or even the traditional “leader” stereotype but is prepared to put in the work to make the team extraordinary.

        I’m still in the early parts of the book, but it seems that for the very top dominant teams (eg appearing once in a generation in a given sport) the Captain is the key factor.

        • Hoss

          Three questions:

          1. Do you have someone from NSW reading it to you?
          2 Hasn’t Balustrade burnt all the books yet ?
          3 Do you have someone from NSW reading it to you?

        • Alister Smith

          Audio book I would be guessing Hoss

        • Hoss

          You’re a thinker Al.

        • Alister Smith

          I was born in NSW Hoss – tautologous to call me a thinking NSWelshman (but I go for the Reds but only since the early onset dementia started to kick in).

        • Yowie

          I don’t want to be seen with a book and picked-on by the locals ok?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cabf0ba5b2e3a59c7634df7256d64f25b3f2d7f1141d05d05e1dbac8c81fbed7.jpg

          (apologies to Bill Hicks)

        • Yowie

          Why would I risk catching Wuhan Spicy Lung from one of you Mexicans reading me a bedtime story over the phone?

        • Custardtaht

          I’ve heard Qlders are so obese now they can’t catch a cold, why are you all so scared of this flu?

        • Yowie

          Because it’s foreign. Qld* fish & chip shop owners have served up good nutrition and good advice about untrustworthy types since the early 90s.

          (*Ipswich in particular)

        • Custardtaht

          Didn’t she do a good battered sav?

        • Yowie

          No dim sims according to a big sign out the front of the shop. I don’t know about battered savs.

        • Custardtaht

          No Dim Sims! That’s unaustralian.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Interesting. I am reading Miracle Men – How Rassie’s Springboks won the World Cup by Lloyd Burnard (no relations). In the book Rassie Erasmus shared his view on captaincy. He was offered the Bok captaincy twice during his career however refused to become the captain as he felt that he was not the right individual for the role. He tend to be analytical and a bit of free spirit that would not have jelled well with what was expected at that time of the captain. His view of the role of the captain in professional rugbyis different, as leadership is shared in within the team as individuals are assigned different roles. The coach and captain play important roles to setup the environment and culture. The role Vermeulen, Pollard, Willie le Roux and even Schalk Britz play were just as important as the role of Kolisi. His view contrast significantly from someone like Kitch Christie and Jake White that see a far more significant role for their captains.

    • Keith Butler

      Dead right Hannes. First and foremost the captain has to be first name on the team sheet as a player and then having a team of leaders across the park. I know I’m blowing the Pommie trumpet but we also had all of that in spades from 2001 to 2003 under Martin Johnson

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Keith, if the captain that is gifted with the ability to extract synergy so that the team play better with him than without him. I would make an exception. John Smith comes to mind – Bismarck was clearly a better player however there was not replacement for Smith as captain. Francois Pienaar was a good captain although not always the best #6 – I remember Wahl Bartmann was arguably a better player.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Is there a name for the trophy for this cobbled-together comp? The Shuffled Shield, perhaps?

    • Yowie

      It’s a shame your fine work arrives so late in the day Georgia.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Too kind, Yowie. I wish I were in a more agreeable timezone so I could interact more with this crew. I’ve moved back an hour too, from Tbilisi to Moscow. Might have to check in for Friday’s News late at night when I’m half cut and solicit some more ideas for the cup.

Rugby

Mad rugby supporter from Newcastle. Offering unbiased takes on why the Brumbies are the best team in Super Rugby.

More in Rugby